Reports continue to emerge about what might be in the so-called “fourth book” of the literary phenomenon known as The Millennium Series. It will include a cameo for Canada (it's set partly in Canada's Northwest Territories). It will feature the twin sister of the series' bold protagonist (hacker Lisbeth Salander).
But will it ever actually be published?
As die-hard fans already know, since Millennium author Stieg Larsson died in 2004 – just before his books became mega-blockbusters – what's alleged to be his remaining manuscript has become a bargaining chip in a legal row between Larsson's family and his long-time partner Eva Gabrielsson.
If the parties can't agree in a timely fashion, at least one Larsson observer – his friend John-Henri Holmberg, who received details of the fourth novel in an e-mail from Larsson before he died – fears it may turn into “one of those idiotic things like The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”
He's referring to Charles Dickens's unfinished final work, which many other writers tried to complete after his death. Capping a literary legacy has proved problematic for the publishers of posthumous works from J. R. R. Tolkein to Ernest Hemingway to David Foster Wallace. But with due respect to Larsson, well, he was no Charles Dickens.
The challenge of continuing the Millennium books is more about brand coherence than maintaining a masterpiece at hand. And for that, the best case study might be what fantasy and sci-fi imprint Tor Books did when it lost the author of the Wheel of Time series, its most successful line of fiction.
Full story at Toronto's Globe and Mail.